13 Spiritual Entities Types: Recognizing Good & Bad Spirits

Updated June 9, 2021
Spiritual Entities

Learn how to recognize the different types of spiritual entities recorded throughout history and present day. You can learn how to distinguish between a malevolent spiritual entity and a benevolent one.


Angels can appear either when prayed to or seemingly out of the blue. They are often benevolent and extremely knowledgeable and powerful. The easiest way to engage with angels is simply to ask for help. It can be with something large or small. Believe and then ask and see what happens. Then be patient: it isn't likely to happen instantly.

Signs that angels are present include sensing power around you, seeing angel lights or orbs, smelling something you can't describe and that you've never smelled before, or seeing butterflies or dragonflies in unusual places (or many more of them than usual.) Another thing to watch for is syncronicity: you express a desire for something, and suddenly, you see things related to it everywhere.


It's debated among many religious scholars if demons are the fallen angels or if the demons are the offspring of the angels mating with human women. Demons are considered malevolent entities who tempt and corrupt humans in defiance of God's holy creation - humankind.

Demons await opportunities to enter a human's life and are believed capable of possessing the physical body in their attempt to kill the human soul. You can recognize demons by using your higher self to discern if you're in the presence of a demonic spirit.

Man turning into a demon

Elemental Spirit or Nature Sprite

A nature sprite or elemental spirit doesn't have a benevolent or malevolent motivation. This spirit is a guardian over a specific element, such as water, fire, earth, and air.

These spirits tend to the elements as caregivers under the direction of Mother Nature (spirit) and are usually invisible to the human eye. These spirits often let themselves be known by dropping a leaf or flower in your path or by invisibly fluttering about your head.


Entities are not things you want around. They feed off of your energy, and can often leave you feeling exhausted, depressed, hopeless, or despondent, seemingly out of the blue and for no reason at all. If you find yourself suddenly feeling like you're in a deep funk, and none of the usual methods for getting out of it seem to be working, there's a good chance an entity is behind it.

Entities can attach themselves to you if you're already emotionally raw, or if you're around people who are full of negative energy; their entities can decide to cling to you instead.


A fairy is a spiritual entity that isn't visible to most people. It is a miniature humanoid with a pair of wings. It's said to have magical powers and can be mischievous.

Some are believed to be benevolent while others are considered malevolent. Fairies often leave gifts for those they like, such as a flower or a shiny bead or a piece of jewelry. If your personal items are misplaced, you may have fairy in your household or a poltergeist.

Depending on the manner and nature of these visits, you can assess if the spirit is a fairy or harmful poltergeist.

Fairy on the sky of a sunset

Ghosts/Earthbound Spirits

A ghost is considered the spirit of a deceased person or animal. The apparition can assume any shape desired, such as a replica of what they resembled when alive or as a wisp of vapor or cloud. The ghost can either be benevolent or malevolent.

Some ghosts are trapped by various ties to their earthly life that they cannot release to free themselves to move to the next spiritual realm. Ghosts tend to haunt those susceptible to seeing beyond this world.

You may see their form briefly as a vapor or ethereal mist. You can summon a spirit through various methods, but should never attempt on your own. Instead, you should consult with a professional medium.

Spooky girl against wall

Gods or Deities

There are entire pantheons of gods and other deities, and it's entirely possible that you'll have contact with one or more of them. Most likely, this contact would be initiated by you, via prayer, spells, creating sigils, or other methods. Other times, a deity will call to you, giving you a sign in hopes that you heed the call.

Deities aren't easy to pin down. They're not usually malicious, per se, but they might not always appear in a way or behave in a way that you'd like.

There are many possible signs that you've come into contact with a deity. Intense dreams or visions might come to you. Or you might start seeing symbols of a particular god. It will not usually be a one-off event, but something that happens multiple times.


The Jinn or Genies are considered malevolent spirits capable of shapeshifting. Some stories involve humans knowing how to manipulate the Jinn to do their bidding. The Jinn enjoy retribution and delight in torturing and hexing humans by creating chaos in their lives and physically harming them through all manner of problems and diseases.


Orbs are believed to be spirits, often angelic, that manifest to deliver a message to the person seeing it. They can be any color, and over the centuries colors have been assigned meanings.

Glowing supernatural lights orbs

Orbs can be seen with the naked eye and are often spotted during funerals, at special family celebrations, and to those gifted with psychic abilities. Some orbs are caught on videos and photos, but are often difficult to distinguish from dust spots and camera lens flares.


A "noisy ghost," the poltergeist has the ability to move physical objects. This type of spiritual entity makes its presence known with knocking sounds, electrical disturbances, moving objects, slamming doors, and other noisy ways.

One theory is an adolescent's hormonal energy attracts a poltergeist, while other researchers believe the cause of such anomalies is the child's own chaotic energies. These beings can be either malevolent or benevolent, depending on the individual entity.

Plant Spirits

Plant spirits inhabit every single plant, and you can take the time to connect with them. Maybe you have a favorite plant in your garden or home, or a favorite shrub or vine. Spend time with it. Get a feel for the spirit that inhabits that plant; they are as unique as one person is from another. Get to know the plant spirit and try to learn whatever lessons it is trying to teach you. If you gain sudden insights into your own life or into your practice while spending time with a plant, that's a good sign that the plant spirit has blessed you with its wisdom.

You can also use a pendulum in working with plant spirits; this will often help you decipher whether you've received an answer to any questions you've asked.

Spirits of the Ancestors

Unlike ghosts, which are neutral and can behave benignly or malignantly depending on the spirit, the spirits of your ancestors are most likely (not always, but mostly) to behave nicely toward you. You can call on them for guidance via prayer, by setting up ancestor altars, or by contacting them through a medium. These are generally safe spirits to work with, since they'll tend to have your best interest at heart.

Note that this does not mean "always." Every family has their bad apples, and a jerk in life is very likely to be a jerk in death as well. So it pays to know a bit about the ancestor you're calling on. The strongest help will come from those who knew you when they were alive, and you'll most likely recognize them when they appear, either by sight or a smell or another signal that you'll recognize them by.

Ghost touching sleeping granddaughter

Wood Nymph

A wood nymph is a tree spirit. It's believed that each tree has an assigned wood nymph that nurtures and cares for it.

Nymphs, in general, are spirits tied to all forms of nature. You can sense wood nymphs or tree spirits when you focus on a particular tree while in a meditative state. Tree nymphs whisper in the breeze so faintly only the finely attuned intuitive can hear their words.

Different Types of Spirits and Ways to Identify Them

With so many types of spirit beings, it's often difficult to know which one you're seeing or sensing. By understanding if a spirit is benevolent or malevolent, you can better assess which type you're dealing with.

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13 Spiritual Entities Types: Recognizing Good & Bad Spirits